A Homeless Father Keeps Going for His Children
April 13, 2021
“That’s a determined man,” a MCREST case manager said of David (not his real name), age 55, who had just walked to the MCREST office to keep an appointment with three teenage children in tow, two with autism, even though he has a bad back and walking hurts.
“I have to keep pushing,” said David, a soft-spoken, slight man, bent with pain. “That’s what parents do for their children. There’s no one else to do it.”
A Family Becomes Homeless
David has had three lumbar spine surgeries; receives Social Security Disability; and walks with a cane. He moved from Las Vegas to Michigan with his children when his mother became ill: “My siblings all worked, and there was no one to take care of her.”
David wanted to keep his mother out of a nursing home, so he and his children moved in with his brother and prepared to take care of his mother. “[My siblings] wanted to put her in a nursing home, and I didn’t agree with that,” said David. “It was my mom—it was my obligation to look after her if I could.”
But living with his brother didn’t work out, and David was forced to find another place to stay after his mother passed away. With nowhere else to go, he looked up homeless shelters online and located MCREST.
“It was a blessing,” David said, of finding MCREST last December.
A Father Seeks a Home for His Children
David’s current goals are to find housing and to enroll his children in school, which MCREST case managers are helping him with. He needs help, like so many of MCREST’s guests do, obtaining proper identification, saying the family’s identifying paperwork was stolen. He has an upcoming interview about housing.
His daughter, age 14, seems shy, but opens up when she talks about a house of the family’s own. “It’s really exciting,” she said with a bright smile. “I want to have our own rooms and our own space.”
She wants to get back into school, but is “nervous, too, about the other kids—it’s been a minute,” she explained. The children haven’t been enrolled since the family moved from Las Vegas, partly due to COVID-19.
Another goal of David’s is to obtain transportation because, as a Type II diabetic and with two children with disabilities, he needs to be able to drive to doctor’s appointments.
A Father Pushes Back Against Stereotypes
David thinks that some people have the wrong idea about people who experience homelessness. “Not everyone who is homeless is a deadbeat or an alcoholic or an addict,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s the issues of life that cause a person to become homeless, as it did for me and my kids.”
When asked what gets him up in the morning, David replied, “The good Lord and them,” pointing to his children.
With MCREST’s help, he keeps pushing forward, despite overwhelming odds, because, as he said, he “has no choice.”
“I can’t give up,” he said.
His children are counting on him.